In my last blog, I gave tips on how to initiate tough conversations with others—whether they be friends, significant others, coworkers or people you manage. But what about when the shoe’s on the other foot? As the saying goes, it’s often far easier to dish it out than it is to take it.

So, how should you respond when you are on the receiving end of a tough conversation? Here’s what I recommend:

• Watch your body language. You may not like what you’re hearing, but try to stay calm and show you’re listening. This means maintaining eye contact and avoiding closed body language, like crossing your arms.

• Don’t play defense. Take what’s being said to you as constructive criticism and a way for you to be a better employee, manager, friend or spouse. Unless there are valid reasons to do so, avoid trying to justify behaviors that the person who’s talking to you finds unacceptable, and instead of blaming others, take responsibility for your actions and verbally commit to improving.

• Make sure you understand the problem. When the discussion is over, ask questions and then rephrase the issue: “As I understand it, you are concerned about…and you would like me to (state solution). Is that correct?”

• Ask for a checkup. Request a follow-up meeting to discuss progress or improvement. This offers proof that you’re a team player and value the speaker’s input and feedback.